* Jacket Images of Backhaus' Records
CD by Decca(and Philips) & EMI(and Biddulph) ;
1) Backhaus Edition of Decca
recordings are very precious to lovers of Backhaus. This
edition includes almost all of his stereo recordings in
studio. The Jacket
designs are same except for background tone. (As of Oct.
2001, all of these releases are deleted from
international catalogue except Beethoven, but as of Oct.
2008 the Beethoven sonata recordings by stereo is
reissued as Original Masters series)
Edition 1 ;
Beethoven's Complete Sonatas(#433892, No.29
is from monaural complete set)
Edition 2 ;
- Beethoven ; 5
Concertos, Diabelli Variations(#433891)
- Brahms ; 2 Concertos, Pieces(#433895)
- Bach ; 2 Suites and 2 preludes and fugue, Haydn ;
- Mozart, Haydn ; Solo Works(#433900)
- Mozart ; Concerto No.27, Solo works(#433898)
- Schumann ; Concerto, Waldscenen(#433899)
- Schubert, Liszt, Mendelssohn ; Solo Works(#433902)
2) Decca's monaural
reissues in Historic Series
monaural reissues by Decca are only two items
from now on, which are very magnicent and
; Piano Concerto Nos.4 & 5( with
- Brahms ; The 2 Cello Sonatas(with Fournier, #425973)
recording is not good in sound
quality(especially, No.4) and shows some
disaccords between solist and conductor in
Emperor, but surely has very high level in solo
and more perfect in technique than his stereo
album with S.Isserstedt.
Brahms' album is one of only
two chamber music recording of his - the other is
Schubert's 'Trout' in 78's era(Biddulph LHW 38) -
and referred as classical example of this works
for 45 years. I think Rostropovich/Serkin(DG) and Starker's
album(Mercury) are only comparable to this.
Fournier recorded this works with Firkusny(DGG 139 119 SLPM) again, which has been paid less
attention to by record enthusiast than this
recording though very excellent performance and
isn't reissued yet by single CD(note; DG's
original masters series issued it by 'Fournier;
Aristocrat of cello'.
3) 'Great Pianists' Series
album(#456718) consists of his Carnegie Hall
Recital(live at 1954.3.30) and Brahms' Concerto
No.2 with Schuricht, which are first reissued as
CD except for Japan. Moreover, Japanese versions
are 3 CDs and 'Carnegie Hall Recital' (London
POCL 3479/80) strangely omitted Chopin's Etude
op.25-2 in encore.
Carnegie Hall recital is very
good in quality, so reminds me of Andor Foldes'
saying, "His playing in live concert was as
perfect as his record." To say nothing of
his technical perfectness, it is also perfect in
musical aspect. Brahms' concerto is also good,
better in technique than the famous '67
recording, and this is one of rare studio
recordings of Schuricht(See a fan's review at Amazon).
'Legend' and 'The Classic Sound' Series of
The Classic Sound(#448600)
albums have the same contents - Brahms' Concerto
No.2 and Mozart's Concerto No.27 with Böhm. This recordings are very beautiful
and grand performances. In Brahms, he completely
grasped the work itself... Being somewhat
imperfect in technique, I was not able to find
warmer and maturer recording than this. In
Mozart, he also depicted serenity of late days of
Mozart well. Böhm's support is at the best level of
5) Early Brahms'
Concerto recordings(78s era) of EMI
- EMI CHS 5
66418 2(2CD set)
HMV(the former name of EMI) planned the Brahms'
centenary recordings, the man who undertook the
piano works was Backhaus(In chamber works,
Busch's team - his quartet and son-in-law, Rudolf
Serkin - was appointed). Thus, he recorded quite
many solo works from 1932.
This album shows the middle
years of Backhaus - tempo is faster than the
Decca recordings, and straighter. This is a
valuable archive to Backhaus' fans in order to
know his style and progress, but I don't like to
recommend this to common classical music lovers
due to the poor sound quality. To know Backhaus'
characteristic tone color, his Decca
recordings(#433895) are proper choices even
though this set contains more pieces than Decca's
Brahms' waltz recording ; EMI CDH 5 66425 2
In this album, I think other players are more
notable than Backhaus - Seefried, Höngen, Hotter in Liebeslieder, and Nadia
Boulanger. She was one of the greatest teacher of
music and composition in this century.
Beethoven's Concertos Nos. 4 & 5 of
Piano Series LHW 37
this album contains the first Beethoven's
concerto recording of Backhaus(recorded in 1927).
You will see the review on Amazon(by
2. LP & CD
; local versions - Japanese and Korean
Because it was the easiest way
to buy Japanese issues(London label) in order to get Backhaus'
recordings before Decca reissued 'Backhaus
Edition', I have some Japanese LPs and CDs.
Several years ago, it was easy to see Japanese ones
unissued as international versions in Korean market,
but nowadays it became difficult. Perhaps, the
devaluation of Korean 'Won' by IMF regime and 'Super
Yen' will be the cause, and unofficial routes are
much closed. I often have to buy LPs or Japanese CDs
when wanting to get un-reissued records by majors.
1) Bach Recital ; London LP KIJC 9011
course, his Bach is a bit romantic and may be
out-of-date, but his beautiful tone color and
humane warmth give special attraction to this
recording. I think he did not care for the
harpsichordic characters of Bach's work too much,
which I agree and think Bach's style has to be
thought over but that harpsichord need not
be imitated in playing piano in details, because overconsciousness of
harpsichord can do much harm to the appeal of
piano. They say his 'Italian Concerto(BWV.971)'
was very impressive, so I wish he had recorded
This LP is 'Super Analogue
Disc' by King records under license of Japanese
Decca, which has 180g weight for good sound
quality. I think the sound of this LP is stable
and mellow, but too expensive (2,500 Yen, I
spended over 45 dollar then) and now rare.
Beethoven's Concertos Nos. 2 & 3(LP) ; London MX 9005
Concerto No.3 is excellent, except for a bit
unsatisfactory sound quality of
orchestra(recording ; Sep. 1950). I expect Decca
will reissue this as 'Historic' series, followed
by monaural No.4 & 5.
3) Beethoven's Concertos Nos. 4 &
image is that of the Korean local issue, of
which jacket is the same design concept to Decca
LPs. In Korea, Backhaus' stereo recording of
Beethoven's concertos have been the creteria of
the works for a long time - partially as these
recordings are the best in the several issued LPs
by license. Listening this set, I am unsatisfied
with unbalanced sound that the volume of piano is
a bit smaller than I expect(reversely, in famous
'67 Brahms No.2 recording, solo is a small bit louder
than I want), but Schmidt-Isserstedt's
supporting is fairly good. Though this set is not
eminent any more in 'Emperor', Nos. 1, 3, and 4
deserve to be standard now.
Beethoven's Complete Sonatas(CD, +Diabelli
F30L-20128~37(10 CD Set or singles)
sonatas were his core repertoire. Because this
recording was done during long time('58~69, No.29
is in '52), his technique was not good in '69
sessions. But his ability isn't questioned from
now on, and this CD has been a classical one.
Before Decca edition, this CD is only
way to get it(I saw this in set form in France on
my Europe trip in 1991 ^^).
5) 'Heritage of Backhaus'
In Japan, London label
released monaural Beethoven concertos, Schumann
and Mozart's No.27 concertos(London F30L-20162),
Mozart recital(London F30L-20165), and Brahms'
cello sonatas etc. in May 1988, titled
as 'Heritage of Backhaus'. I had to buy two of
them in Korea in 1991 due to its rarity(^^).
His Last Recital
( 26 & 28th
June, 1969, Stiftkirche, Ossiach in
Carinthia, Austria )
POCL 2659/60(2 CD Set)
technical aspect, there are many problems in this
record. He made very big mistake in 3rd mvt. of
Mozart's sonata No.11. But this record deserves
to be owned due to its historical value(and
Japanese version has very good liner notes with
many photos). In 28th June concert, this record
captured the moment to stop playing due to his
heart ailment. He said "Ich bitte um
eine kleine Pause(I want to have a short
rest)" and changed program. After
intermission, he played Schumann's
2 pieces from 'Phantasiestucke' and Schubert's
Impromptus D.935-2, which is the last music he
After this recital he went to
hospital in Villach(Austria), and died 7 days
later. He buried in Cologne, where I want to
visit again because of the famous record shop
Grieg's album ; Simax(Nor) 1809(3 CD set)
album, Backhaus' playing is only one('The bridal
procession passes'), but more interesting things
are playings of Grieg, Percy Grainger, etc.
I don't have this yet(not imported in Korea), but
want to get its historical meanings. You will see
the review on Amazon(by
* Miscellous Images
Left ; Brahms' Concerto No.2 (with Böhm)
- Decca LP SXL 6322
This photo was taken in session.
You can find Willy Boskovsky(in brown vest) and Karl
Böhm(with glasses) in background. This jacket is used as
that of 'The Classic Sound' Series.
; Brahms' Concerto No.2 (with Schuricht)
- London POCL-3341(CD)
This CD is one of 'Backhaus in
* Beethoven ; Sonatas
* Carnegie Hall recital
||* Brahms ; Paganini
Orfeo C 300 921 B
(c) 1999~ , Youngrok LEE ; Link free, but please get my approval
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Created ; 16th Dec. 1999
Last Update ; 25th Oct. 2008